Harmen Vanhoorne, Brass Band Buizingen, Conductor: Luc Vertommen, Belfius Recordings: 88906-2, Total Playing Time: 67.11
Clarke’s intellectually gripping triptych, ‘Premonitions’, is a dark, unaccompanied clarion call – certainly not of a political ‘New Jerusalem’ – more a prophetic dystopian vision of a chaotic descent into consumerist hell.
It is played with a brimstone tonality that sends a shudder down the spine.
So too ‘Mysteries of the Horizon’, which is given a definitive performance – each of its four movements exploring the composer’s personal interpretation of the surrealist hinterland of the paintings of enigmatic Belgian artist Rene Magritte.
Whilst the title comes from his famous image of three seemingly identical men in bowler hats looking far into the distance, the individual elements are more opaque:‘The Menaced Assassin’ – a musically distracted killer; ‘The Flavour of Tears’ – a bird morphing into a leaf; ‘The Dominion of Light’ – 27 paintings of the same house; ‘The Discovery of Fire’ – a tuba set ablaze.
It is an illusionary, suggestive, questioning work – superbly constructed, breathtakingly performed; yet still, tantalisingly ethereal and intangible.
You suspect Magritte himself would have been delighted by both the composer as well as the soloist’s truly inspired creation.
See the whole review for Harman Vanhoorne’s disc Fortune’s Fool